Bagels on the Holiday Table
By Rachel Bosworth
Out-of-town family and friends, holiday spirit, charitable giving, decorations and presents; all are well and good for the holidays, but everyone’s favorite (secret or not) is the food. Many holiday traditions are centered around this crucial element, and we have zero complaints about that. From Thanksgiving turkeys and pies to Christmas roasts and New Year’s Day brunches, food plays a central role in pretty much every holiday. For New Yorkers, a critical holiday nosh has to be the bagel. While the art of making bagels is tricky, there’s one East End baking family that has perfected it – the Goldbergs.
The long family history of making bagels began with founder Izzy Goldberg back in the late 1940’s on Webster Avenue in the Bronx. With four sons perfecting their craft in New Jersey and New York, the tradition was passed down to Izzy’s grandson, Marc, who began making and baking bagels the traditional way at the age of 11. The year was 1969 in Westwood, New Jersey, where Marc would later meet his wife, Denise. Her entry into the world of bagels began with simple romantic gestures from her future husband. “He used to leave me coffee and a cream cheese bagel on my car before I went to school,” Denise recalled. “And I used to ride my bike to the store to visit.”
When it comes to holiday celebrations, the Goldbergs know how to do it right. Marc himself loves an “Everything” bagel with jalapeño cream cheese and Nova lox, while Denise enjoys a toasted bialy with plain cream cheese. They enjoy an assortment of traditional bagels, Nova lox, herring, and all of the fixings surrounded by people they love for the holidays. “We always host a big traditional breakfast in our home with family, friends, customers, and anyone who needs a place to be,” said Denise.
There certainly is an art to making bagels. If you know what you’re doing, and have years of experience to fall back on, you can make a great bagel pretty much anywhere. Fourth generation bagel baker — Marc and Denise’s daughter, Amanda — says it’s about an eight-step process to make a bagel right. From letting the dough rise to shaping the bagel, then boiling and baking it to perfection; the process is long and tedious, but deliciously worth it.
This holiday season rather than attempting to bake bagels at home, visit one of the many Goldberg’s Bagels locations on the East End to pick up your favorite bagels, flagels, bialys, and all the tasty toppings to create your own holiday brunch. With stores in East Hampton, Mattituck, Montauk, Napeague, Riverhead, Southampton, and Waintscott, it is easy for you to bring home a little bit of Goldberg’s Bagels cheer to your own celebrations. And whatever you decide to bring home to your family, don’t forget the lox.
Want to put a bagel-spin on a classic recipe? Put your kitchen skills to good use with an onion bagel and bacon stuffing recipe from Goldberg’s.
Onion Bagel and Bacon Stuffing
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
3-4 large onion bagels (about 6 cups), cut into bite-sized pieces
12 slices bacon (12 ounces), diced medium
1 medium red onion, diced small
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
Spread the bagel pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 20 minutes. Let cool. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
While the bagel pieces are toasting, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often until crispy, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate, lined with a paper towel. Add the onion to the pan with the bacon drippings and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the broth and eggs; season with salt and pepper. Add the bagel pieces, bacon, onion, and parsley; toss to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Transfer mixture to the baking dish and bake until top is golden brown, about 45 minutes.